GitLab permissions guide

There are multiple types of permissions across GitLab, and when implementing anything that deals with permissions, all of them should be considered.

Groups and Projects

General permissions

Groups and projects can have the following visibility levels:

  • public (20) - an entity is visible to everyone
  • internal (10) - an entity is visible to logged in users
  • private (0) - an entity is visible only to the approved members of the entity

The visibility level of a group can be changed only if all subgroups and subprojects have the same or lower visibility level. (e.g., a group can be set to internal only if all subgroups and projects are internal or private).

Visibility levels can be found in the Gitlab::VisibilityLevel module.

Feature specific permissions

Additionally, the following project features can have different visibility levels:

  • Issues
  • Repository
    • Merge Request
    • Pipelines
    • Container Registry
    • Git Large File Storage
  • Wiki
  • Snippets

These features can be set to "Everyone with Access" or "Only Project Members". They make sense only for public or internal projects because private projects can be accessed only by project members by default.


Users can be members of multiple groups and projects. The following access levels are available (defined in the Gitlab::Access module):

  • Guest
  • Reporter
  • Developer
  • Maintainer
  • Owner

If a user is the member of both a project and the project parent group, the higher permission is taken into account for the project.

If a user is the member of a project, but not the parent group (or groups), they can still view the groups and their entities (like epics).

Project membership (where the group membership is already taken into account) is stored in the project_authorizations table.

Confidential issues

Confidential issues can be accessed only by project members who are at least reporters (they can't be accessed by guests). Additionally they can be accessed by their authors and assignees.